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A guide to the Gower Peninsula, Wales.


Jan 17th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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A guide to the Gower Peninsula, Wales.

The Gower Peninsula, known in Welsh as Gŵyr, was the first area in the UK to be protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) back in 1956. Gower extends out from South Wales into the sea. The area’s main attraction is its stunning beaches, many of which have won awards for their natural beauty and their cleanliness. Any beach you visit in Gower will be very pretty, particularly in the south or west, but I’ll speak about my favourite areas.

The south Gower coastline is rugged and is made up of countless coves and bays, most of which are backed by limestone cliffs. A notable beach is Three Cliffs Bay, named for the iconic three cliffs which reach into the sea. The beach is widely photographed because of its unique scenery, and has won many awards; it was voted the Britain’s best beach by the BBC program ‘Holidays at Home’ in 2006, and was later voted as a runner-up for ‘Britain’s best view’ on ITV. Three Cliffs is often quite quiet as you cannot park close to the beach - whichever way you access it there will be at least a 15 minute walk. Three Cliffs can be reached from a number of directions - either along the coastal path from Southgate village, or along the river banks from near Gower Heritage Centre in Parkmill, or alternatively along the lane from Penmaen Village. I would say the best views of the beach are along the walk from Penmaen, which takes around 20 minutes from the main road to the beach. Other very pretty and more easily accessible beaches in south Gower include Caswell, Langland and Oxwich, all of which have car parks. Caswell and Langland can get rather busy in the summer due to their close proximity to Swansea, however Oxwich is a larger beach and usually a lot quieter.

No trip to Gower would be complete without a visit to Rhossili, at the far eastern tip of the peninsula. The scenery in this area is stunning. Worm’s Head stretches out far into the sea, becoming an island at high tide. The name for Worm’s Head comes from Viking origin ‘wurm’ meaning ‘dragon’; the island actually looks very much like a dragon or sea serpent emerging from the water! Although it is possible to walk over a causeway to Worm’s Head at low tide, it is easy to become stranded on the island by a change in tide - the tidal range of south Wales is large and the sea can come in fast. Rhossili beach itself is a long sandy beach, backed by hills. There is a large car park in Rhossili village, as well as a bus stop, however it is worth noting there is a steep, walk down to the beach from here, taking about 10 minutes. Rhossili beach has also won many awards – it has been voted by Trip Advisor as the Uk’s favourite beach, and amongst the top 10 best beaches in the world.

For people who enjoy walking, I recommend a walk to Fall Bay, and Mewslade, two small coves along the coast from Rhossili. I can also recommend walking in the hills behind the beach, which offer great views of the coast, and over the rest of the peninsula. The Welsh Coast Path covers the entire Gower coastline, and whichever section you choose to walk, particularly in south or west Gower, will give great views.

Gower’s north coast stretches along the Loughor river estuary, making it unsuitable for bathing, however it is nonetheless pretty and home to lots of wildlife. There are protected wetlands on both sides of the estuary which aim to preserve the plant and animal species. Penclawdd in north Gower is known or its cockles; cockles and laverbread (a type of bread made from seaweed) is a delicacy in this part of Wales!

Another place worth visiting is the small Mumbles, a small seaside town just at the very edge of Gower. Mumbles is a typical British seaside town with lots of restaurants, bed & breakfasts, fish & chip shops and pubs, as well as a Victorian pier stretching out into Swansea Bay. At the end of the Mumbles headland is the town’s most scenic beach – Bracelet Bay. This small sandy cove is very attractive and backed by two small rocky islands.
A great advantage of the area is its accessibility. Although most of Gower is very rural, there are very good bus connections. Almost everywhere in Gower can be accessed by bus, and the buses are frequent. The majority of the buses leave from the Quadrant Bus Station in Swansea. I taking public transport, the best way to reach the area is by train to Swansea, and then catch a bus from the Quadrant. As a guide, the journey on the bus from Swansea to Rhosilli (the furthest point on Gower) takes just over an hour. By car, everywhere is easily accessible – the A4118 road serves south Gower and the B4271 and B4295 roads serve north Gower.

To sum up, the things I like about Gower are:
Very pretty coast and countryside
Award winning clean and scenic beaches
Very accessible by both car and bus

And the drawbacks:
British weather is very unpredictable! Summer is often the best time to visit as it is generally drier, however showery weather may still occur during the summer.

Thanks for reading! Click the link below to see the full review, along with photographs.

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